The High Court Division in a verdict Thursday allowed the donation of human organs to known persons also on emotional grounds.
It directed the government to amend, within six months, the Transplantation of Human Organs (Amendment) Act 2018.
The law allows donation of organs only to relatives.
The authentication board created under the law would determine the emotional donors by framing guidelines as in India said the verdict.
The authentication board would also be required to select donors after examining their physical and mental conditions and ascertain whether or nor they had drug addiction, it said.
The court prohibited the business of kidney donation.
A bench of Justice Moyeenul Islam Chowdhury and Justice Khandaker Diliruzzaman gave the verdict after disposing of a writ petition filed in 2017, by kidney patient’s mother Fatema Zohra.
She challenged the legality of Sections 2 (ga), 3 and 6 of the Organ Transplantation Act 1999 amended in 2018 that only allow donation of human organs to 23 categories of relatives.
Fatema donated her one kidney to her ailing daughter Fahmida, but, the kidney got damaged after a year.
Then she invited a donor who could not donate kidney due to the law.
Her lawyer Rashna Imam described the verdict as ‘historic’ for lifting the bar.
She said that fought the legal battle for the last two years and a half to establish the right.
On August 24, 2017, the HC issued a rule asking the government to explain why the Sections 2 (ga), 3 and 6 of the act would not be declared unconstitutional.
Gonoshasthaya Kendra trustee Dr Zafrullah Chowdhury while giving his opinion to the court said that the government should amend the Transplantation of Human Organs (Amendment) Act 2018 and proposed for the formation of an independent government body to regulate the organ donation and transplantation activities.
He also said that unrelated people often opt for illegal organ donation due to the legal constraints.
Zafrullah submitted as the close relatives cannot be found to be donors, rich people buy organs from the poor identifying them as relatives.
Kidney patients also go to neighbouring India to get transplanted kidney spending huge foreign exchange, said Dr Zafrullah.
Zafrullah said in Iran and Canada, only the regulatory body could decide whether the donor should donate organ to a patient.
He said provisions of close relatives for donating organs curtailed the right to donate organs or getting organs transplanted.
He said that the Bangladesh government was losing foreign currencies worth Tk 8,000 crore every year as well off people were getting kidney transplanted in India, Sri Lanka and Singapore and the US.
Kidney transplantation in the US costs Tk two to five crore while about Tk 30-40 lakh in Sri Lanka and India, he said.